Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Touch of Texas Irish—A Contest—My Research

As always, for me the research for this novel was fun. The story begins in Ireland, and my husband and I were fortunate enough to tour parts of Ireland several years ago. So, while writing my heroine's flight from Ireland, I had a good picture in my mind of the town and port of Kinsale, Ireland where she boarded a freighter bound for Boston, Massachusetts.

I knew nothing about Boston, so spent hours researching the port, the docks, and the neighborhoods where Irish Catholics lived. At the time, Boston was a Protestant town and didn't want Catholics in their neighborhoods. During the migration of Catholics from Ireland, many traveled to Boston as well as New York and other cities. I didn't know Boston's port was so extensive.

I spent a great deal of time researching rail travel, time schedules, and routes. The train didn't travel all the way to Fort Stockton so the hero and heroine had to board a stagecoach in Monahans. It was a rough ride compared to the train. I've researched stage travel for several other books so didn't need to spend much time on this topic.

I lived in Fort Stockton, Texas for several years, but did have to research the area for the time period of 1890. The fort had been closed, so the town lost much of its trade. The store by Comanche Springs was a stopping place for travelers.

Contest:  For the release of A Touch of Texas Irish, I'm giving away a James Avery charm bracelet with a clover heart charm. To enter, go to my website or blog and use the form to sign up for my newsletter. I will enter you into the contest. If you already receive my newsletter, email me at linda@lindalaroque.com and request that I add you to the contest list. I will be checking emails to make sure they're valid and don't time out before a newsletter can download.

Unfortunately, the winner must be in the U.S. A winner outside the US will receive an E copy of this book and a selection of others and another winner will be selected for the bracelet.


Aileen Lynch flees Ireland to escape a forced marriage, but in Boston she marries a frontier doctor needing a mother for his son, and they board a train bound for Texas.

Doctor Samuel Walker attends a medical conference in Boston, and at a colleague's entreaty, marries a young Irish woman to save her from a forced abusive marriage.

While Aileen strives to earn Sam's affection, the frontier doctor vows never to risk Aileen's safety or his heart—he'll not father a child and watch Aileen die.


Aileen stepped from the washroom wearing her robe with only her chemise underneath. She wanted to be able to dress quickly if need be. Her traveling costume was folded and stored in her portmanteau. It would slide under their bed in case she needed it in a hurry. Sam waited for her right outside the door and walked her to their berth. The porter already had the seats folded down and the bed made. The couple that sat across from them was settled in the bunk above.
Sam held the curtain for her while she crawled across the mattress. He removed his clothes and laid them across the foot of their bed. He slipped under the covers in his drawers. Suddenly shy, Aileen clutched the robe closer to her body.
He untied her robe. "You can't sleep in that. You'll get too hot and become tangled when you try to turn over." She had to admit the car was rather warm. Sam mentioned something about a hot air furnace. "Come on, give it here." He took the robe and tossed it to the end of the bunk. When she'd settled under the covers, he slipped an arm under her head and pulled her close. Her heart thundered in her chest. Surely he'd not make love to her here. She'd die of embarrassment. "Good night, Aileen."
"Night." She released a sigh of relief, but felt a nagging disappointment. The thought of such an activity in these close confines brought forth a giggle.
"What's funny?"
"Sleeping this close to other people is so odd. Lydia is the only person I've ever shared a bed with." And now I'm sharing a bedroom with close to two-dozen people. Sam's heart thrummed away under her ear, and the faint aroma of his aftershave tickled her nostrils. She fidgeted trying to decide what to do with her free arm. The obvious remedy would be to throw it across Sam's chest, but she didn't want him to think her brazen. Finally, he made the decision for her. He took her arm, placed it across his middle, and stroked it with a gentle motion. She closed her eyes, enjoying the closeness and his touch.
"You settled...comfortable?"
 "Yes, thank you. Goodnight, Sam."
He squeezed her with his strong arms in response. She listened to the sounds around her—snoring, coughing, and the occasional passing of gas. Not having slept in such close confines before, the intimate sounds were foreign to her. Though Sam didn't love her, lying wrapped in his embrace, she experienced security for the first time since her mother's passing. A tear leaked from her eye, and she wiped it away. No looking back, Aileen. Mother wanted you to be happy. Aileen would make that happen.
A Touch of Texas Irish is now available for pre-order. The release date is March 8th. Copies are available at—
I have a new release, an anthology about love and modes of travel. It is available


  1. Fort Stockton, Texas? Yes, you must have lived there once to know, first of all, where it is, and why. Interesting, though, you had to research the town in 1890.
    You have a generous gift to give away. I have so many pieces of James Avery Jewelry, and get their catalog--about four a year, I think, and I drool over every page.
    Your cover is very pretty and appropriate.
    Good luck with sales and the give-away!

    1. Thank you, Celia. We loved Fort Stockton and enjoy visiting the entire Big Bend area. I'm the same on the James Avery jewelry, but a girl can only have so many charms!

  2. Ah, yes, back in the good old days when no one liked anyone! NINA(No Irish Need Apply)signs were everywhere. So they took the jobs that other didn't want such as police officers and firemen. And they made Boston the fantastic city it is today.

    And apparently train travel hasn't changed too much according to a friend who is claustrophobic. Luckily she and her hubby had a room to themselves, but those narrow beds still exist. :-)

    I loved the excerpt!

    1. So true on the NINA and Aileen is confronted with the prejudice on the train. One of these days I'm going to travel on a train. Have always wanted to. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Ah, Ireland! I love that beautiful green island. Haven't been to Fort Stockton. Looking forward to reading about it in your book.

    Very generous of you to give away a James Avery bracelet!

    1. Both are beautiful in their own way, Lyn. I got the bracelet when I bought 2 charms so thought it would be a great prize. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Good research can take a story to a higher level of interest and realism. When you can add those colorful details of real history it can truly enrich the story.
    You are so lucky to have spent some time in Ireland--that had to be so exciting and fun.
    I really liked the tender excerpt you posted. I can't imagine how awkward it must have been to marry someone you didn't even know and then sleep with them.
    I want to wish you all the very best with your new release of A Touch of Texas Irish, Linda.

    1. Thank you for your comments and well wishes, Sarah! You are so right about the sleeping part, but I guess it was part of life back then for some women to marry someone sight unseen. At least she'd gotten to know him a little before they married.


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